What exactly is digital customer engagement and why it is considered so very important in today’s highly competitive markets? In plain and simple words customer engagement is all about being in touch with the customer. The main objective of such strategy is to ensure that the customers keep coming back to the same products or services because of such engagement. This is becoming highly important because retaining old and loyal customers is a much better option than trying to win over new customers.
Without undermining the need for looking for new customers, it is extremely crucial that companies prevent the existing companies to look outside for various products and services. Towards this objective customer engagement is a good strategy and this is done in a number of ways and means. In the good old days when the computers and the internet were not as developed as they are today, the only way to engage with the customer was at the point of sale or point of purchase. However, today the improvement of technology has broadened the entire scope of being in regular touch with the customers.
What Exactly Is Digital Customer Engagement And What Are Its Benefits?
Digital customer engagement is all about making use of the modern technology to touch base with the customers, both existing and prospective, on a regular basis. Almost all well informed and tech savvy customers use the internet quite regularly in search of products and services.
So, when manufacturers use this medium to touch base with customers, they are able to keep them on a close-watch so to say. Further, with the help of these digital technologies it is possible for companies to reach out to thousands or even millions of customers quite easily and within a short period of time. Additionally, being on the digital radar helps the companies to have regular feedback on customer behaviors and patterns and that too on a real time basis. All these go a long way in helping these companies to take preventive and corrective action wherever necessary.
Useful Strategies For Building Customer Engagement Strategy
While there is no doubt digital customer engagement can go a long way in retaining existing customers and also help acquiring new ones, it is important to have a clear cut plan in mind so that it actually works on the ground. Here are a few important steps that should be kept in mind while going in for such customer engagement strategy:
Have a Clear Idea About Customer Insight
It would be wrong to assume that you know everything about your customers. Even the most loyal customers can be surprising and behave irrationally and unexpectedly. Hence, it is very important to go inside out and find out what exactly the customers are looking for. This would call for some very well thought out strategizing involving many brains.
Be Where The Customer Is
As a producer, manufacturer or even someone who is the distribution channel, it is important to ensure that you are omnipresent wherever customers are. Whether it is social media networking sites or other blogging sites, as a manufacturer you should be there. If the customers are more at home being in the various FM Channels, it is important for you to be also there. The print media still continues to attract thousands of customers and as a service provider you should be present here too on a regular basis.
Make Customer Engagement An Employee Motto
However effective your digital customer engagement plan might be, it will not work on the ground unless there is a sense of responsibility and accountability from the employees. Hence, employees who have direct interface with customers should be trained very thoroughly. They should be trained in such a way that they have customer engagement in their DNA. It is quite obvious that even the best of customer engagement strategies will fall flat without the active support of employees.
Engage With The Customers
Another important point to be borne in mind is the need to be always in the engagement mode even if you are in the digital era. In fact the digital world will provide more opportunities to engage with customers. They could use the SMS messaging facility to be regularly in touch with the customers. There are many blogs where these service providers could look for feedback from customers on a regular basis.
Look For Rewarding Loyalty
When looking to target customers in the digital world, you must not lose sight of some basic fundamentals that have stood the test of time. For example, if the engagement throws light that there are some groups of customers who have been exhibiting fierce brand loyalty, it is important to not only reward them adequately but to also keep track of their activities very closely and if possible on a live basis.
Gain Trust Before Selling
One of the most common mistakes that many marketers make is to try and sell a product or service without gaining the trust of the customers. No customer would like to have a product shoved down his throat unless he is fully satisfied with it. Hence, the onus lies in devising the right customer engagement strategy that helps build trust and confidence. However, this is a long drawn game and there are no quick fix solutions to it. Being patient and learning to play the waiting game is very important.
Test The Waters
No one single solution can be considered to be the ultimate choice as far as effective customers’ engagement is concerned. Today, the growth in technology provides the marketers with enough options to try and test the waters as far as customer habits and preferences are concerned. These testing of waters can go a long way in helping find out what exactly the customers want. This might take some time, effort and money but it worth it from all points of view.
How To Digitally Engage With Customers
Now that we have a reasonably good idea about effective ways of customer engagement, let us find out how we can use the internet to perform this job better. Today, customers are not mere visitors to social media sites, forums and blogging sites. They are also very keen on putting across their point of view. Honest and well meaning customers are frank and forthright about their experiences about products and service standards. Hence, it is important for marketers to use the mediums mentioned above to understand more about customer behaviors.
Social Media Sites
Today, social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and others are becoming extremely important tools for marketing of products and services. Hence, whether you are a manufacturer or a distributor, you should be aggressively present in these social media sites. It will help a lot in expanding the width and depth of your network, apart from understanding changing customer tastes, preferences, likes and dislikes.
Blogging Sites And Forums
Blogging sites and forums are the best places to be in if customers are looking for specific products and services. For example, if somebody is looking for the latest mobile phones, he or she would certainly spend quite a bit of time in blog sites which share information about these gadgets. Therefore as manufacturers or distributors, it is vital that you know how to make use of this platform to your advantage. Taking regular feedback from forums where customers frequent is perhaps the most effective way to have an engagement strategy. However, this has to be done constantly and not in fits and starts.
It is important to bear in mind that digital customer engagement can work wonders, but marketers should know how to have a judicious mix of time tested methods with intelligent and effective use of technology.